TED Conversations

Stefan H. Farr


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Debate: Our culture isn't adapting to our rapidly progressing technology.

There is a lot of talk about the current economic crises. Projections, promises or just plain old confusion, everybody seems to have an opinion on when and how it will get resolved or on the contrary how it will not resolve, but rather bring about the end of us.

Personally, I believe that it "can" resolve, but not by traditional economic measures, because the cause of it is not purely economic in nature. I believe, that this crises stems from a profound conflict brought about by the increasing incompatibility of our cultural, social and economic values with the ever more advanced technological progress that we are accumulating. Our inability to culturally adapt to this rapid technological progress is like a dead weight that impedes our metamorphosis as a species altogether.

Consequently, I believe that the next giant leap in our evolution must be a cultural / spiritual / intellectual / social one and not a technological one. Technologically we are way beyond what we can culturally accommodate and so any more progress in this domain will only deepen the conflict rather than resolve it.

Thank you!


Closing Statement from Stefan H. Farr

It's been a pleasure reading your comments. Thank you very much everybody for the excellent insight.

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  • Oct 14 2012: Brilliant put, Stefan!

    There has to be a value shift in order to realize the potential of technology. I feel that part of the problem of ignorance is our schools. They have steadily been based on curriculum that are at least 200 years old and hasn't undergone any significant transformation or adaptation to our technological possibilities.

    How would you define progress, though?
    • Oct 14 2012: I agree that it wouldn't hurt to try to improve our education system.

      Progress? I would say that progress is anything that makes people's lives better, either on an individual level or on a societal/community/global level. I think it's clear that some technologies (toilets, medical advances, etc...) represent genuine progress, whereas the effects of other technologies (televisions, iPads, etc...) are much more obscure. As Thoreau said, "... so with a hundred 'modern improvements'; there is an illusion about them; there is not always a positive advance."
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      Oct 15 2012: Very tough question Mats. An extremely helpful point. I will think about it, include it in my analysis.
      Thank you very much.

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